Hi everyone. Although I had originally expected to cover Colorado, as my next cannabis tourism state, we passed recreational cannabis here in California. So, given the ever growing excitement in the air and the fact that much comparison has been made between the “Green Rush” and the “Gold Rush”, I decided to begin this month in Coloma, California.
Just a quick bit of history. John Sutter, a european immigrant, arrived in Sacramento, in the fall of 1839, after several adventures took him across the US and even as far as Hawaii and Alaska. He proceeded to build this amazing fort, with walls that were 2 1/2 feet thick and 15 to 18 feet high, and he called it Sutter’s Fort. Mr. Sutter planted crops, such as grapes and wheat, and had vast herds of cattle. He owned more than 150,000 acres of the Central Valley, and was known for his great wealth. In 1841, Mr. Sutter received a grant of 48,000 acres along the Sacramento River. Construction, of Sutter’s Mill, began in the fall of 1847, 50 miles east of the Fort in the South Fork of the American River. By January, of 1848 the Mill was half done and on January 24, 1848, James W. Marshall, noticed several flakes of gold in the tailrace water. He tried to keep it a secret but the word spread quickly, and before long 80,000 people poured into the area triggering the California Gold Rush of 1849.
On a personal note, in 1993, just after graduating from high school in the San Diego area, my family moved to the Sacramento foothills and quickly settled in a small town (Greenwood, California) just 15 miles from Coloma. Full disclosure I thought my parents had lost their minds when I first laid eyes on their 28-acres property in the middle of “BFE”. It is necessary to cross either the North Fork, of the American River, through a fairly intense canyon or the South Fork, through equally intense windy roads to even get there. Additionally, anything that I considered to be normal like 24-hour gas stations and drive-thru fast food were totally nonexistent. However, as I grew older I began to see the blessing that this area has to offer. For the most part, the land is untouched so you can actually see the environment through the eyes of those miners hoping for a opportunity to get rich quick. I have to admit that even now I can sense some of the same excitement, in the air, that they must have felt over 150 years ago. This time, however, the rush is over an equally valuable plant instead of a metal.
El Dorado County, where Coloma is located, is quite large and very rural. Additionally, the lower parts are not subject to snow and see long, sunny days pretty much from late April through the end of October. The average summer-time temp is in the high 90’s to low 100’s and most winter days are in the 50’s. This might account for the almost 4,000 cannabis grows, of all sizes, estimated throughout the county. There are quite a few prevalent strains, that grow in this area, but I am most familiar with Blue Cheese, Bubble Berry, Chocolope, Sour Diesel, Romulan and White Rhino. I believe I have spoken about Chocolope but if you missed it, I love me some Chocolope. It’s a cross between Chocolate Thai and Cannalope Haze and has a wonderful, euphoric effect that can certainly elevate your day. Chocolope falls more to the sativa side too, so it gives you energy instead of making you tired or “stuck”. I cannot say enough about how much I love Chocolope but back to Coloma.
Marshall Gold Discovery Park is a replica of the original town. There is a monument to James Marshall, a museum and many of the restored buildings. Every year, thousands of California 4th graders, visit Marshall Gold Discovery State Historic Park as part of their studies in California history. They get to see the site of the gold discovery and learn how it transformed our state and the entire US. (I actually was a 4th grade student who studied California history, visited the Mill and even spent the night in Sutter’s Fort circa 1985. I think I have a short video and a hand dipped candle as souvenirs) Another fun event, in Coloma, is Coloma Gold Rush Live in September. You can visit a Gold Rush era encampment, listen to reinactors tell stories of the time and pan for gold. I love this event because the streets fills with volunteers, dressed in period costume, and it really is a lot of fun.
I would highly recommend that anyone, who finds history interesting, find a way to visit Coloma on their next trip to the Sacramento area. Also, keep a look out for my upcoming projects and events. Another thing that Coloma is known for is the amazing rafting opportunities. Right around Memorial Day Weekend is the beginning of rafting season and loads of people travel from all over to raft the North Fork, Middle Fork and South Fork of the American River. There are several rafting companies and even rafting resorts where you can stay and raft. I might be able to pull off a rafting weekend, for 2017, but adult use cannabis regulations do not go into effect until January of 2018 so although any adult, over age 21, can possess up to 1 oz of bud or 8 grams of concentrate and any adult can “share” with another adult it is still illegal to dispense and that difference is a very fine line. I will be planning activities and events, for this area, as soon as the State and County permit me to do so though. However, for small groups and couples I am totally legal to do a cannabis concierge service and my information is on my site. Have a great weekend, everybody, and i’m so happy to introduce you to my neck of the woods…literally.